Pests & Predators Podcast, Ep 29: The ecology of fear

The insect world is a fascinating mix of prey and predator. Wherever there are insects — pest or beneficial — there are dynamic interactions  that can greatly impact behaviour and even population dynamics, even if insects are not being eaten or attacked.

Understanding the stress of interaction and awareness of their enemies without actually being eaten or attacked is an area of study that Maya Evenden, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta, calls the “ecology of fear.” Insects may not experience the human emotion of fear per se, however her work does show how insects can alter behaviour and even their morphology and physiology if a predator or parasitoid is detected.

How does this amazing sensing of danger happen and how might it help farmers in the field? That’s the topic of this episode of the Pests & Predators podcast, brought to you by FieldHeroes, powered by the Western Grains Research Foundation.

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